The Art School's Paul Askew is looking forward to the blessing of the grape

Say “Bonjour” to some of Bordeaux’s world-famous wine producers, as Liverpool comes alive with what organisers say will be “the most delicious weekend of the year”.

It’s not just about the high end Château Pétrus, Château Margaux, Château Latour, at thousands of pounds a bottle, it’s also about getting a great glass of Claret or Crémant entry level.

“Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux” takes place on the extended bank holiday weekend from 2-5 June to coincide with the Queen’s jubilee celebrations. The food and drink festival, in collaboration with the Bordeaux Wine Council and the French Government, celebrates Liverpool as the UK’s host city for the Bordeaux Wine Festival in 2022.

Bordeaux Fête Le Vin Wine Festival
You're the wine that I want - Bordeaux Fete Le Vin Image: PR

The Bordeaux region is renowned for its unique terroir - which refers to the special environmental factors which create the high quality vines covering over 120,000 hectares. More than 6,000 vineyards produce a sumptuous array of red, white, sparkling and rosé wines, from affordable bottles through to special occasion vintages.

The Bordeaux Wine Festival last took place in Liverpool in 2019, when the waterfront event coincided with the River Festival. 

This year, the organisers (including the council, Liverpool City Region, Taste Liverpool and Liverpool BID) have opted to make the event citywide and give it a new name of Taste Liverpool - Drink Bordeaux. As the sole UK city to host the famous Bordeaux Wine Festival, it’s a huge honour for the prestigious event to be back in Liverpool. 

Taste Liverpool  Drink Bordeaux Wine Festival Castle Street
Taste Liverpool - Drink Bordeaux. On Castle Street Image: PR

Restaurants, bars, coffee shops and food halls will be key to the festival, by offering official festival menus as part of the experience.

Free activities will include immersive takeovers by leading restaurateurs and chefs, cookery demonstrations and food inspired cultural events. 

There will also be a daily wine tasting event at the Town Hall - the Bordeaux Wine Experience - which will see French flair meet Scouse style with a touch of theatre for all to enjoy. Early bird tickets for that are £18 per adult and guests will get six tasting glasses of Bordeaux wine, a complimentary Bordeaux wine glass, entrance to wine masterclasses throughout the day, and the opportunity to talk to the world’s finest wine producers.

Taste Liverpool  Drink Bordeaux Wine Festival
This year's event will be citywide Image: PR

Paul Askew, chef patron at The Art School and creative director of Taste Liverpool says that making this new festival citywide is definitely the right way to go. 

Paul told Confidentials, “We’ve done two pilots which you probably were part of, and attended and tasted. We loved that.

“The opening ceremony is something called ‘the blessing of the grape’ which is something I love very much, because I bless many grapes most days,” he laughed. 

“We have a really good reputation and a really good rapport with Bordeaux and they loved it when they came over here.

“We're basically using the assets of the city and the historical buildings for the infrastructure. And then going out from Castle Street, Hope Street, Bold Street, down Duke Street as well, there will be a sort of food trail of all the restaurants who want to take part.”

20200526 The Art School Paul Askew Liverpool 750X500
Paul Askew is creative director of Taste Liverpool Image: PR

Restaurants that sign up will list a selection of Bordeaux wines on their menu for the duration of the event, and match it up with one of their favourite dishes. There are also plans for a public vote on the best Bordeaux selection and the restaurant with the best food and wine pairing. The winners will get a trip to Bordeaux. 

Paul said, “For CIVB (Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux or Bordeaux Wine Council) it’s about changing people’s perception about the wine.

“It’s not just about the high end Château Pétrus, Château Margaux, Château Latour, at thousands of pounds a bottle, it’s also about getting a great glass of Claret or Crémant entry level. 

“And that’s the reason they want the educational side of it and to get it into restaurants so it can be a glass with a curry, a glass with a pad thai. It shouldn't be prohibitive to anybody, it’s about encouraging diversity and matching different styles of food with different styles of wine.

“I don’t want it to be elitist, it’s got to be for everybody. That's what good festivals are. It’s year one and I think to put it on the 70th jubilee is a good move, there’s already things planned for that and so we’ll get more bang for your buck.”

Bordeaux Wine Experiences can be booked from Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June on from midday and the last session is from 19.30pm. Pricing: Early bird £18.00 (plus booking fee) / general release £20.00 (plus booking fee) / on the day £25.00. Tickets available now from TicketQuarter.

Read next: ‘A nautical food journey to be treasured’ - Barnacle, reviewed

Read again: Bottoms up as Bordeaux Wine Festival returns to Liverpool

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